Tritons still in action
Iowa Central’s goal of winning a Region XI Div. II softball tournament title still remains intact after a split here Friday at Rogers Sports Complex.
Following a 5-4 comeback victory over sixth-seeded Southwestern in their opener, the No. 3 seed Tritons (41-14 overall) were no-hit by second-seeded and 16th-ranked Des Moines Area in an 8-0 setback.
Awaiting Iowa Central now this afternoon in the consolation bracket of the double-elimination tournament is No. 5 seed Ellsworth (10-21). First pitch is set for 1 p.m. on Field 1. During the regular season, the Tritons went 3-1 against the Panthers.
Despite jumping out to an early 2-0 lead against the Spartans, the Tritons needed a late rally to avoid the potential upset. Trailing by a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, Iowa Central knotted the game on consecutive RBI singles from No. 8 and 9 batters Casey-May Huff and Taylor Barnett. Iowa State recruit Sammie Hildreth later plated the decisive score on a groundout to shortstop.
“You could tell we hadn’t played in a week in Game 1,” ICCC head coach Josh Sandin said. “Judging by some of our swings, we looked like we were trying to hit 10-run home runs into the wind. Give credit to our girls, though, for never giving up and finding a way. We have to take care of business now again (today).”
University of West Florida signee Chelsy Krantz (Fort Dodge) and Huff each collected two hits in the win for Iowa Central. Haley Rustvold (Fort Dodge) and Katie Newbury also knocked in runs, while Hildreth, Rustvold, Allie Ingalls (North Union), Lexie Miller (Eagle Grove) and Barnett all crossed the dish once.
Ingalls (21-8) went the distance in the circle, scattering five hits and four earned runs. The ace right-hander walked six and fanned one. Ingalls entered postseason play with a 3.35 ERA and 160 hits allowed in 166 2/3 innings of work.
“I thought Allie threw the ball pretty well again,” said Sandin. “She did a nice job of keeping us in the game.”
Sam Strand was 2-for-3 at the plate for the Spartans, while Ashley Gibbs and Emma Ferin both went deep. Gibbs, a No. 9 hitter, belted a three-run longball to right field in the second inning. Ferin then launched a solo shot to right in the third.
“It was important that we never let (Southwestern) get too far ahead of us,” Sandin said. “I thought eventually we would break through offensively.”
Against the Bears, Iowa Central was unable to solve hurler Alyson Netty. Krantz drew a walk and was hit by a pitch. Hildreth (walk) and Nicole Dobernecker (hit by pitch) were the only other Tritons to reach base. The lone Triton scoring threat ended when Krantz was thrown out at home on a squeeze bunt by Dobernecker in the first.
“We hit the ball hard at times, but we just couldn’t find any holes,” said Sandin. “Even though it’s frustrating that we lost, I liked how we battled until the end.”
Katlin Briley delivered three hits for DMACC, while Jessica Bastian, Amanda Widener and Riley Fisher all notched a pair of hits. Bastian and Fisher each added two RBI.